By Carolyn Pritchard, CBS MarketWatch.com Last Update: 12:48 AM ET Nov. 5, 2004 SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Verizon Wireless said late Thursday that it has agreed to buy all of NextWave Telecom Inc.'s PCS spectrum licenses, in 23 markets around the country, for $3 billion. The licenses will be acquired through the purchase of privately held NextWave Telecom following the completion of its bankruptcy reorganization, when it will own no assets other than the licenses. The licenses had been tied up in court amid a lengthy legal spat between NextWave and the Federal Communications Commission. The dispute was resolved earlier this year. In July, Verizon Wireless paid $930 million to NextWave for a coveted slice of spectrum covering 20 million people from the New York City area to northern New Jersey. The licenses Verizon Wireless agreed Thursday to acquire will be used to expand the company's network capacity in 22 key existing markets, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, as well as to expand the company's footprint in Tulsa, Okla. "This purchase is part of our long-standing strategy of continual network enhancements to provide our customers with the most reliable wireless network and, therefore, the most satisfying wireless experience," said CEO Denny Strigl in a company statement. This transaction is expected to be funded through cash flow from operations and inter-company loans. It remains subject to bankruptcy court and standard regulatory approval and is expected to close by mid-2005.